Scuba Diving in ASIA

The best scuba diving in Asia depends on purpose, time of year, and of course how much a challenge to get to. For example, few places in the world are as beginner friendly as Koh Tao, Thailand, which as one time was second in the world for PADI certifying new divers. If your trip is not all about diving, then a destination with other experiences and attractions, such as Borneo which features an abundance of wildlife, may be the best choice.

ASIA TOP SCUBA DIVING SPOTS  

1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, PHILIPPINES ★★★★★

2. Raja Ampat, West Papua, INDONESIA ★★★★★

3. Similan Islands, THAILAND ★★★★★

4. Derawan Islands, BORNEO  ★★★

5. Sipadan, BORNEO ★★★★★

6. Koh Tao, THAILAND ★★★

7. Mergui Archipelago, MYANMAR ★★★★★

8. Komodo National Park, INDONESIA ★★★★

9. Kerama Islands, Okinawa, JAPAN ★★★★

★ = Quality

= Difficulty

Dive Season Dates (Green = Best time of year to dive):

When to scuba dive in Asia chart

1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, PHILIPPINES ★★★★★

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park from the air

Season: March to mid-June

The island province of Palawan which includes Tubbataha, is one of the most diverse and captivating in the Philippines archipelago home to rugged steep limestone rocks, white sandy beaches and rich turquoise waters creating amazing sceneries. Tubbataha is one of the best diving destinations in the world. The first National Park within the Philippines covering over 1,800 islands and 100,000 hectares of protected reefs. Coron Bay features the best collection of wreck diving in the Philippines boasting 11 Japanese World War Two ships.

Notes: 

  • Remote - Liveaboard (advance booking required)
  • Highest Biodiversity in the Philippines (UNESCO marine sanctuary)

2. Raja Ampat, West Papua, INDONESIA ★★★★★

Rajat Ampat diving site

The Raja Ampat Islands are an Indonesian archipelago off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. Famed for its hundreds of jungle-covered islands, Raja Ampat has stunning beaches and pristine clear blue water coral reefs teeming with marine life. Its most famous island is Pianemo, the largest and most picturesque.

Season: October to May

  • PROS: Richest variety of marine life in Southeast Asia
  • CONS: Cuisine poor

3. Similan Islands THAILAND ★★★★★

Season: National Park is open from mid-October through to mid-May.

Notes: 

  • Remote - Liveaboard

4. Derawan Islands, BORNEO ★★★

Season: March to October.

Pros:

  • Southeast Asia's Best Kept Secret
  • Can dive nearby Sipadan (below)
  • Can combine with wildlife experiences

Con:

  • Cuisine poor

5. Sipadan, BORNEO ★★★★★

Season: April to December

Pros: 

  • Exclusive Access to Exceptional Marine Life
  • Can dive nearby Derawan (above)
  • Can combine with wildlife experiences

Con:

  • Poor cuisine

Primary dive sites in Thailand

6. Koh Tao, THAILAND ★★★

Season: March to September

Pros:

  • Reefs and stable waters around Koh Tao are ideal for new diver training
  • Cuisine ++
  • Top PADI professional outfitters training over 80,000 new divers per year

7. Mergui Archipelago, MYANMAR ★★★★★

Season: Late October and mid-May

Notes:

  • Remote - liveaboard
  • Advanced diving

8. Komodo National Park, INDONESIA ★★★★

Season: March to October

Con:

  • Long travel: Remote (six hours flight from Bangkok)

9. Kerama Islands, Okinawa, JAPAN ★★★★

To know:

  • Off shore day trips
  • Limited window - summer months

Con:

  • Advanced challenging diving in currents
  • Cuisine poor

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